Amish community in Lancaster, PA.Photo by Sara Melissa Frost. The history of the Amish begins in 1693 in Switzerland, with a group of Swiss and Alsatian Mennonite Anabaptists. They were led by Jakob Ammann, and his followers became known as Amish. The Amish people emigrated to North America, and in the second half of the 19th century, the Amish divided into Old Order Amish and Amish Mennonites. The latter does not forbid motor cars, whereas the Old Order Amish retained much of their traditional culture.